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Populist, nationalist and racist ideologies are threatening democracies in Europe and the United States in a myriad of ways. COVID-19 has intensified problems and inequalities that have long existed. There is no doubt that the global pandemic has scaled the disparities to a level that is alarming for democratic societies. At the same time, we witness the abominable effects of Antisemitism, racial discrimination and the continuous suppression of minority rights. They all underlie the need for civil society to act. The attacks on Black people and other People of Color illustrate that equity and living free from fear and discrimination remain hollow promises in Europe and the United States. The Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellowship tasks 30 young leaders of diverse backgrounds with translating innovative ideas for social change into tangible realities.

The Fellowship

In partnership with the Alfred Landecker Foundation, Humanity in Action launched the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellowship. The Fellowship brings together 30 diverse leaders from Europe and the United States who spend one year working part-time on creating projects that reinvent democratic spaces, strengthen social cohesion and build community against the backdrop of COVID-19’s impact on democracy. With financial support, the inaugural cohort of the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows work together from October 25, 2020 to October 24, 2021. They form a unique community with strong ties to the Alfred Landecker Foundation and the Humanity in Action alumni network.

The Objective

The Alfred Landecker-Humanity in Action partnership enables young leaders to strengthen their impact on political and societal discourses, policy making and social realities. As a community of change makers, the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows develop innovative projects to address a broad range of democratic deficiencies in Europe and the United States. Our goal for this Fellowship is to build a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. We support them in their efforts to bring about societal change. We task our Fellows with planning, designing and managing public spaces, on- and offline, through cross-border civic engagement projects. By fostering strong partnerships that strengthen liberal democracies’ commitment to diversity and human rights, our intention is for our Fellows to develop an impactful reach into society.

“All people should have the right to live without fear, persecution and suffering. We must combat prejudice and intolerance in all their many forms. The past teaches us that defending these values and rights, and the institutions that uphold them, must be the obligation of both governments and citizens.”

The Alfred Landecker Foundation

The Fellows

The Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows are young professionals with demonstrated leadership experience. They have the vision, commitment and networks it takes to shape society. Each of them designs, tests and implements an innovative project that has a publicly visible impact on their communities and beyond. The Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows come from diverse backgrounds including politics, business, the arts, activism and academia. They have vastly different identities and ideas, but share democratic values. The Fellows are collaborative, passionate, hands-on and empathic protagonists. They feel responsible for leading social change. They are based in the European Union, the United Kingdom or the United States.

The Program

From October 25, 2020 to October 24, 2021, the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows work part-time on implementing their projects. Humanity in Action provides guidance, programming and supervision through an intense virtual and on-site training program throughout the year, including two in-person Action Academies in Berlin and Amsterdam. Across borders and beyond their own communities, the Fellows draw upon their existing networks and the new connections they make to implement their projects. In the process, they build a unique and supportive community of change-makers.

The Projects

Addressing the impact of COVID-19 is the common denominator of our Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows’ diverse set of projects. Together and individually, the Fellows explore an array of complex questions, develop responses and implement tangible actions that reach broad audiences. What lessons can be drawn from the national and international responses? What is a desirable balance between civil rights in times of global and national health threats? How do we deal with fake news, conspiracy theories and hate speech? How do public health and social justice intersect, and what are the consequences for policy making? What is the impact on vulnerable communities and how can it be dealt with? The Fellows may explore these and other sub-themes in relation to COVID-19’s impact on democracy in their projects. Project methodologies vary widely from Fellow to Fellow. And yet, in their own ways, all of them build community and shape pluralism through reinventing democratic spaces.

The Support

As part of the program, the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows receive a Fellowship stipend of a total of 10,000 Euro (paid out in monthly installments). Additionally, they receive 5,000 Euro in seed funding for the implementation of their project idea. All training expenses are covered, as are travel and accommodation costs for the Action Academies in Berlin and Amsterdam.

Our Values

The Alfred Landecker Foundation is dedicated to preventing history from repeating itself. With populism and nationalism re-emerging in Western democracies, the foundation is convinced that current and future generations need increasingly innovative education about the Holocaust and the terrible price paid when intolerance and indifference reign. As the foundation supports free and democratic societies in which the rights of individuals and minorities are protected, it wants to help strengthen the institutions that safeguard these freedoms. This is why the foundation is committed to learning more about the origins of racism, discrimination and Antisemitism – in order to fight them more effectively both offline and online. To achieve this, the foundation wants to promote and support the brightest minds. The foundation brings together those analyzing the fault-lines in society, those driving decisions and those seeking to promote change. Together, they will develop a deeper understanding and more innovative approaches to make sure that the crimes of the past won’t be repeated.

We at Humanity in Action believe that an important test of a genuine democracy is how it advances social equity and pluralism. We bring carefully selected students, young professionals and established leaders of diverse backgrounds to the same tables and collectively look at the histories behind contemporary social justice headlines to develop responses to these contemporary challenges. We strengthen the commitment of our community to democratic values and foster their knowledge around past and present human rights challenges. We inspire civic engagement and connect an ever-growing international community committed to strengthening democracy, human rights, and pluralism.

Our Community

The 2,500 Humanity in Action Fellows and Senior Fellows are deeply committed to social justice all around the globe. Our alumni are the vibrant heart of the organization. Beyond their Fellowship involvements, they remain engaged with each other and the Humanity in Action teams. To advance our common mission, we offer tailored educational, professional or entrepreneurial opportunities to them.

Our Partner

We are proud to partner with the Alfred Landecker Foundation on this new Fellowship program and thank the Foundation for its trust and generous support.